How To Get Involved In Free and Open Source Software and Stuff Today! Yes, TODAY!

Image credits: Roy Lathwell

  • Download a Linux Distro today and join the corresponding forum
    (Downloads: Ubuntu Debian Fedora ) (Forums: Ubuntu Debian Fedora
  •  Go to Wikipedia, click on your chosen language group, go to the top right corner and click on “create an account”, read the tutorial on how to edit, and then navigate to a page on a person or subject you are interested in and start editing. 
  •  Download an IRC client, open it up, create an IRC handle, (or even easier than that, just go to Freenode) and type /join #”name of project you are interested in” to join that project’s channel. For example, if you are interested in the Drupal content management system (CMS), you’d type “/join #drupal” to get into the Drupal channel. You will find lots of people who know the project well and can give you ideas of how you might be able to help. (Read more about getting started with IRC here). 
  • Register at  Go to to find projects written in programming languages you know and like or search for keywords in the search bar. Fork the repository to familiarize yourself with what’s been done so far and noodle with the code in your own sandbox. If it’s unclear where/ how you can contribute, reach out to people working on the project in their IRC channel or check out the issue tracker on the project website.
  • Sign up for Code Triage and they’ll email you every day with a different issue that maybe *you* can solve! 
  • The GNOME Foundation has a GREAT Get Involved page outlining all the different ways you can contribute that project. Go there and involve yourself.
  •  Amara is an open source tool for captioning and/or adding translations to any video. Register on their site and join one of the teams creating captions for everything from Netflix films to TED talks to Coursera courses and resources for hearing impaired people. There are also opportunities for coders here
  •  Open Street Map (OSM) is a a free and open source map that is being continuously edited and improved upon by users all around the world. Navigate to this page to create an account and follow the steps to start contributing right away! There are also great Open Street Map meetups around the world; click here to find out if there is one in your area and register to attend the next one. 

OK, what other projects need help? Which other ways can people start contributing today? Please chime in in the comments!

6/6/13 – Edited to add
OpenHatch is a non-profit dedicated to matching prospective free software contributors with communities, tools, and education.

Go to SocialCoding 4 Good’s Volunteer Page, fill out your information to get started

6/7/13 – Edited to add, maintainers of the Firefox project, are committed to openness, innovation and opportunity on the Web. Go to to sign up and start contributing!

6/22/13 – Edited to add
CodeMontage –
Django Admin Contribute Page –
Django – Django is “the Web framework for perfectionists with deadlines” – help them improve their documentation –

Related links: 
8 Ways To Help Open-Source Projects If You’re Not A Coder 
How to become an amazing contributor (to an open source project)

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